What will of God is concealed within the Lord Jesus’ refusal to observe the Sabbath? And what inspiration does it bring to us today?
Escape the Temptation of Money, I’m Liberated!
Getting Lost in the Temptation of Money
Shitou was an ordinary clerk of a foreign-funded enterprise, which engaged in the semiconductor-manufacturing business (producing storage cards, USB drives, hard discs, and so on). He had been working in the enterprise for eleven years, during which time he saw much of the world and knew many inside stories, including bribery, the unspoken rule within the industry.
The enterprise required different sorts of supplies for manufacture. The purchasing department of the enterprise was in charge of dealing with the suppliers, which provided good chances for people to line their pockets. Therefore, anybody working in the enterprise, either a clerk or a manager, racked his or her brains to obtain a position there.
Shitou was a lucky dog. Having worked in the enterprise for several years, he was reallocated to the purchasing department by the leader. So, he often dealt with some suppliers. In order to establish a long-term cooperative relationship, these suppliers often secretly gave him red packets (red paper containing money as bribes) and gift cards during Chinese New Year and other holidays, or directly transferred several hundred or over one thousand yuan to his account. In the beginning, Shitou acted according to the conscience, and thought, “Despite what others do, I won’t take bribes.” But at last his conscience was buried due to the temptation of money. One day, Shitou was secretly called out by a supplier and was given a red packet. He glanced at the red packet and thought, “It seems that it contains a thousand yuan at least. What should I do? If I take the bribe, I will go against my conscience, but I’m truly not willing to give up the chance.” On second thought, Shitou was reminded of the old saying, “Take advantage of others whenever you can.” Right. Who is dissatisfied with money? At this thought, he comforted himself with this, “It doesn’t matter. Just this once.” Since then, however, he took bribes once, twice, and then three times … Over time, Shitou gradually changed, and abandoned his conscience and dignity.
Every time he received the kickback from the suppliers, he would put in a good word for them before his boss and disclose the demands of his boss to them; he also provided them with some information and quotations of their rivals to help them win an advantage in competition; when Shitou inventoried the goods, though he discovered that those suppliers substituted the defective goods for the good ones, or that the components were lacking in amount, he would pretend he didn’t see that; then he would hypocritically call these suppliers to claim credit. Although Shitou gained lots of profits, he was uneasy inside; especially when he saw the head office sent someone to investigate the bribery case, and that many clerks were disciplined or even dismissed for taking bribes, Shitou’s heart shot upward into his throat. He thought of giving up many times, but he couldn’t resist the temptation of money or the enjoyment of the flesh at all. As a result, Shitou sank deeper and deeper and couldn’t extricate himself. Countless nights he was startled from sleep; looking out of the window at the shining stars of the night sky and thinking of what he had done, he felt anxious and frightened …
Coming to His Senses Under the Guidance of God’s Words
At the end of 2012, God’s kingdomcame upon Shitou. Through reading and fellowshiping with brothers and sisters, he gradually understood why he got lost step by step and could not free himself. He saw says: “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy … all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience.” Pondering God’s words, Shitou was deeply touched. What God is revealing is the current condition of corrupt mankind. Looking at today’s society, where are the morality and integrity? People all become mercenary. In order to make more money, they even use contemptible methods such as fraud and deception, giving dinners and gifts, gaining entry through the back door, and so on. Under the influence of the evil trends, more and more people take using these methods for granted; they think that conscience is worthless, and that making money is what really matters. And so, their consciences have been gradually buried. Shitou thought, “Since I stepped into the society, in the beginning I could act according to my conscience and refuse bribes; but when faced with the lure of lucre, I couldn’t resist it at all. I knew it was wrong to take bribes and I had a guilty conscience and felt uneasy after accepting bribes. But it seems as if I have fallen into a mud pit and am unable to pull myself out.” Through the revelations of God’s word, Shitou finally came to understand, “Satan just uses evil trends to tempt and harm me, and make me become a person without humanity, so that my tentacles of greed crawl further and further out, and I cannot extricate myself from living in sin nor see the light.” At that instant, Shitou’s numbed soul regained a bit of feeling. Then he saw God’s words saying: “What mankind wants in their own ideas and viewpoints, mankind’s behavior, and the goals they are chasing are directed at the world, at the things of this mankind, at the fleshly things. What God requires of mankind is directed at the standard of a normal human nature and directed at God. They have two different directions and two different goals. Acting in accordance with God’s goals and requirements will make your humanity more and more normal. But if you act in accordance with your ideas and viewpoints, when you feel you have already done very well, and that you are becoming more and more accomplished in this society, in this world, and in every group of people, when you feel you are living more and more freely, and when you feel more and more that you are already an unequivocal member of humanity—by that time you would have already completely violated the truth.” From God’s words Shitou was aware that what he pursued ran completely counter to God’s will. God requires man to live out normal humanity, and to act on conscience; no matter what man does, he must consider whether this matter is something a person with humanity should do. Reflecting on God’s words and His will, Shitou looked into his heart, asking, “Do I have any conscience or integrity?” He then thought of time after time when he took bribes on the job, and felt remorse and guilt. At that moment, he was willing to confess his sins and repent to God, and was determined to act according to the requirements of God.
Not long afterward, a supplier invited Shitou and his colleagues to dinner. After dinner, the supplier gave gift coupons to them. At that time, Shitou thought, “As a believer in God, I should live out the manner of a. I can’t go against my conscience and morality for the sake of interests. I can’t take bribes.” That day, Shitou refused all the gift coupons that the supplier gave him. From that time on, he refused the suppliers’ bribes a few times. He thought he had achieved some changes. However, it was not easy to overcome the temptation of money.
One morning, when Shitou turned on his cell phone, he found that a supplier had transferred 500 yuan to him. He thought, “Now that the money has been transferred to me and it’s available, should I accept it or not?” He hesitated, “The money is transferred to my account before I knew it; I didn’t even have the chance to refuse it. So it doesn’t mean I’m greedy, right?” Then Shitou told his wife about this. His wife said, “Since the supplier gave you a red packet, why don’t you give him one in return? Then you’ll be even.” Shitou thought her words were quite reasonable. Then he returned the supplier some of the money to salve his conscience. Nonetheless, in the next few days, he often thought of this matter, feeling inexplicable unease; he was absent-minded and scatterbrained, feeling reproached in his conscience. So Shitou came in front of God and prayed. Then he saw God’s words say: “Imagine asking someone who has been active in society for decades the following question, ‘You have lived in the world for so long and achieved so much; what famous sayings do you live by?’ ‘The most important one is “Those who give gifts to officials are not struck by them, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.”’ Isn’t such speech representative of his nature? His nature is not to spare any means for obtaining position; being an official is what gives him life. There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives, in their doings, and in their conduct and dealings with others—they are almost without a shred of truth—for example, their life philosophies, their maxims for success, or their ways of doing things. Every person is filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. So, what flows through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan. Every person who achieves worldly success has his path and secret to success, so isn’t that secret better representative of his nature? You can see that these guys’ nature is too cunning; they are such high officials and have done such great things in the world—they are so cunning! Their nature is so insidious and venomous—they are capable of anything. Man has been corrupted too deeply by Satan. Satan’s venom flows through the blood of every person, and man’s nature is visibly corrupt, evil, and reactionary, filled by and immersed in the philosophies of Satan—it is completely a nature rebellious against God. Man’s nature can be known to all if dissected in this way.” After reading this passage of God’s words, he understood, “My following the evil trends and adapting to the unspoken rule of bribery is integral to my satanic nature. At first, I was fearful and funky after receiving the bribe, but gradually I became used to it; even if I saw my colleagues were dismissed for taking bribes, I still chose to go with the stream for the sake of money and the enjoyment of a better life. It turns out that the reason why I couldn’t overcome the temptations of Satan is because after I was corrupted by Satan, Satan’s poisons have been planted within me, become my life, and controlled my every word and action. I’ve been living by Satan’s philosophies of life such as ‘Take advantage of others whenever you can,’ ‘Those who give gifts to officials are not struck by them,’ and ‘Use power when you have it, because after it’s gone, you can’t use it,’ and so forth. These Satan’s toxins have eroded my conscience, and made me become more and more corrupt and greedy.” It was the revelation of God’s words that allowed Shitou to gain some discernment about the means that Satan employs to corrupt man and see Satan’s poisons existing within him clearly.
After that, Shitou saw more of God’s words: “Man’s flesh is of Satan, it is full of disobedient dispositions, it is deplorably filthy, it is something unclean. People covet the enjoyment of the flesh too much, there are too many manifestations of the flesh, and so God despises the flesh to a point. When people leave behind the filthy, corrupt things of Satan, they gain God’s salvation. But if they remain incapable of divesting themselves of filth and corruption, then they will still be under the domain of Satan. People’s conniving, deceitfulness, and crookedness are things of Satan; by saving you, God separates you from these things…. Once you have been cleansed and made perfect, you will be holy, and you will be normal, and you will be blessed by God and delightful to God.” From these words of God he saw that after being corrupted by Satan, people are full of satanic dispositions; they live according to their own fleshly interests, which comes from Satan and is filthy. He thought, “Why is it that I was able to accept bribes and take unfair advantage of others? Isn’t it because of my corrupt flesh? It seems that I’m still living under Satan’s domain, being fooled and afflicted by it. God hates our satanic dispositions, filthiness, and corruption; He wants to rescue us from corruption so that we can no longer live under Satan’s influence. No matter whether God creates environment for me, or reveals my filthiness by His words, His will is to purify me, and to make me live in His light and receive His blessings.” At this moment, Shitou finally understood God’s will, and he made up his mind, “ I must betray Satan, break free from this kind of lifestyle, and become a person who satisfies God; I will present all of my actions and behaviors before God, and no longer covet my own benefits or do shameful things.”
Triumphing Over Temptations, and Living out the Likeness of Man
In the blink of an eye, several months went by. Some suppliers attempted to bribe him a few times, but Shitou refused them all. Conducting himself like this made him feel at peace and at ease, and he could draw himself up to his full height. When he had tasted the sweetness in practicing the truth, Satan’s temptation came again. Since buying a house and decorating it cost almost all of Shitou’s savings, there was no money left in his Alipay account, and his salary wouldn’t be paid until the end of the month. When Shitou was worried about the lack of money, a supplier transferred 1,000 yuan to his Alipay account. At this point, he thought, “God requires us to be honest and to live a life that is openhearted. I can’t be fooled by Satan again, and I can’t commit sins and resist God. I ought to return the money immediately.” But then he had a second thought, “Now I’m very pressed for cash; if I take the money, it will satisfy my pressing need; if I return it, I have to borrow money from others to live. What should I do?” Then Shitou prayed and sought God’s will. After praying, he felt at ease and peaceful. Later, he saw the following passage of God’s word: “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. … and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!” Shitou was moved by God’s words and felt ashamed, thinking, “Before, God has enlightened me through His words and led me to triumph over Satan’s temptation many times, and I’ve tasted the peace and joy in my heart. But now I want to follow my own desires and take bribes for the sake of interests again. I was nearly fooled by Satan, lost the testimony, and became a mark of shame.” After reading this passage of God’s words, Shitou understood God’s will, and came to know that suffering for practicing the truth is in harmony with God’s will, and that only through living this way can man have integrity and dignity. God’s words gave him faith and strength, and showed him the way forward. He then returned the 1,000 yuan to the supplier without any hesitation. After doing so, he felt better relieved than ever.
Later, Shitou experienced God’s blessings for him. Since he was one of the staffs who had been working in the company for over 10 years, he could enjoy the special privileges of the company. The company promised them ten days’ holiday which could be exchanged for money, and gave them a lot of daily necessities. Then Shitou exchanged five days’ holiday for 1,000 yuan, which just satisfied his pressing need. From this matter he experienced, and found that when he was willing to practice the truth and stand on the side of God, God actually had prepared everything for him.
Since then, Shitou often went before God, begging God to protect him and help him triumph over Satan’s temptations. God heard his prayer. Afterward, he was transferred to another department. He no longer needed to deal with the suppliers, and there were no more people racking their brains to bribe him. Even though sometimes the suppliers he used to contact with called him and tried to bribe him to put in a good word for them, Shitou firmly refused all of them. After that, those suppliers no longer bribed him, and his heart was at ease and peaceful. He finally experienced these words of God: “After they start believing in God, people gain some truths, and the happiness these truths bring is sufficient to replace the happiness brought to people by material things, enjoyment and comfort. The more you gain those things, the less satisfied you are, and the less you are able to tell good from bad. With the truth, the clearer people’s understanding of it, and the more truths they gain, the more they know to thank God and be grateful, and the more they feel sated within their hearts. What do material things bring to people? They bring emptiness and depravity. People can’t tell good from bad and they develop more and more desires.” Having travelled this road, he truly got a taste of the happiness that came from practicing the truth. In the past, he lived in decent conditions; people envied him having a good position, yet they didn’t see the fear and unease within his heart. Every day he had to handle human relations, cautiously observing people around him; while engaging in dealings against his conscience, he was so worried about being caught someday that he was constantly in a state of high mental tension; every time he took bribes, he felt pain and emptiness after brief joy. Now he lives according to God’s words, and his conscience no longer suffers accusation. He feels satisfied with the salary he deserves and lives with dignity without any depression in his heart. He deeply knows it is the fruit borne of God’s words that he can live out a little what God asks of him and attain the semblance of a human. All the glory be to God!
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